If you’re looking for a healthy vegan kale soup, this is the recipe for you!
Using an entire bunch of Tuscan kale and basic soup ingredients, you can create a cozy bowl of Tuscan kale soup that will satisfy and stick to your ribs.
With diced tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, dried herbs and brown rice the ingredients are simple but the taste is exceptional.
Enjoy the base soup recipe as is or feel free to improvise with additions. There are plenty of suggestions below!
Soup is the ever satisfying meal, isn’t it?
Despite it being a week from the start of summer, I still find myself craving it.
And, with my garden exploding with all the leafy greens, including Tuscan kale, it seemed like the perfect excuse for this easy kale soup recipe.
Half of my Italian blood stems from a region just north of Tuscany and as I was prepping the ingredients for this soup, I couldn’t help but thinking this is the kind of “peasant” soup I can envision my ancestors eating regularly.
It’s simple, uses basic soup essentials like carrots, celery and onions as the base, vegetarian by default (meat is a luxury there) and highlights a vegetable that grows abundantly in the Tuscan region.
I chose to add some heartiness to it with brown rice but orzo or another pasta like ditalini (a great shape for soup) could easily be swapped instead.
What I love most about this Tuscan kale soup is how amazingly flavorful it turns out with just the simplest and most basic ingredients.
It’s truly a testament to how easy it is to whip up a nutritious and filling meal with just a handful of ingredients.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THIS EASY KALE SOUP
These are the basic soup ingredients but as I’ll detail below, there are many ways you can tweak this recipe to what you have on hand or what you prefer.
- extra virgin olive oil
- dried basil, oregano and parsley
- Kosher salt
- red pepper flakes
- canned diced tomatoes
- vegetable broth
- brown rice
- Tuscan kale (also known as lacinato kale)
- lemon juice
As you look over that ingredient list, I bet you’re noticing that you have all those items in your fridge, pantry and spice drawer right now!
HOW TO MAKE TUSCAN KALE SOUP
In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrots, celery, herbs, red pepper flakes and salt with the olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or so until fragrant.
Add the broth and canned tomatoes to the pot along with the brown rice. Stir to combine then bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and let cook until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes.
Remove the lid, stir in the Tuscan kale until wilted then remove from the heat.
Add the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.
TIPS FOR THE BEST TASTING KALE SOUP!
- Good soup is only as good as the broth it’s made with. I suggest vegetable broth but vegetable stock would be even better and more flavorful. Homemade is always the tastiest and quite easy to do if you have an Instant Pot. If homemade isn’t an option, brands I love for their flavor are Zoup! (I use their chicken bone broth in this hot and sour egg drop soup recipe) and Kettle and Fire.
- Make sure to sauté the carrots, onion and celery in the olive oil for the full 10 minutes. In fact, if you’re not pressed for time, you can let them go for 15-20 minutes (stirring a few times so they don’t burn). This initial sauté lets the vegetables start to caramelize in the olive oil and brings out a lot more flavor than simply letting them boil in the broth.
- For the canned diced tomatoes, feel free to use a fire roasted variety for additional flavor. If you’re sensitive to heat, omit the red pepper flakes but don’t be scared to use fire roasted tomatoes. They’re not spicy as the name might imply just more flavorful.
- Don’t skip the lemon juice at the end! The fresh lemon juice is probably the most important ingredient in the entire Tuscan kale soup recipe. The acid brings a bright and fresh burst to the soup that perfectly counteracts all the savory flavors going on. If you don’t have a lemon, use a splash of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar instead.
SUBSTITUTION IDEAS FOR THIS VEGETARIAN KALE SOUP
The great part about this kale soup is how versatile it is for substitutions and additions. The possibilities are almost endless!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to switch things up from time to time with this recipe:
- Add white beans to the soup to make a Tuscan white bean kale soup. As shown below, I like using cannellini beans or great northern beans. If doing this, add the cooked beans (I use one 15 ounce can drained and rinsed) with the kale towards the end of the cooking time.
- Swap out the brown rice for up to half a pound of pasta. Use any shape you like but my favorites for soups are elbows, ditalini, orecchiette and acini de pepe (I use this shape in this Italian tomato pasta soup which is a household favorite!). Take note, the pasta will not need as long to cook as the brown rice. Other grains like buckwheat, millet, farro or barley are also good swaps for rice.
- Don’t have Tuscan kale on hand? Almost any leafy green can take its place! Spinach, Swiss chard, kohlrabi greens and even dandelion greens are all great options. Even more uncommon greens like tatsoi will work. Curly kale is also fine if you can’t find Tuscan (or lacinato) kale.
- Use sausage to transform this kale soup recipe into what’s commonly called zuppa toscana (kale and sausage soup). Brown ground Italian sausage as the first step of the recipe with olive oil, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. From there, follow the recipe as written. Obviously, this will no longer be a vegetarian kale soup recipe but the added sausage brings lots of flavor and creates a delicious and satiating meal!
- Create a creamy Tuscan kale soup by adding a touch of either cream or plant based milk at the end. If keeping the recipe vegan with a plant based milk, combine it with either cornstarch or tapioca starch before stirring into the soup to help thicken it.
- I also love adding fresh herbs to the finished kale soup before serving as well. Fresh basil, oregano, parsley or even rosemary all bring a welcomed garden brightness to each bowl.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS TUSCAN KALE SOUP RECIPE
A big hearty bowl of soup deserves some crusty bread!
A piece of torn baguette or slice of sourdough goes perfectly with a bowl of this cozy kale soup.
Air fryer eggplant also serves as a wonderful Mediterranean inspired side dish that would pair well with the Tuscan flavors. Its crispiness is a fun contrast to the soup and great way to get even more vegetables in the meal!
IS TUSCAN KALE SOUP KETO OR PALEO?
Omit the brown rice and this kale soup recipe becomes low carb.
If you choose to add the sausage as offered above, the recipe falls more in line with what is referred to as a keto based recipe.
Without the rice (and with or without the sausage), this recipe is also fitting as a Whole30 kale soup for the paleo eaters out there.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE KALE SOUP
The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To freeze the soup, place cooled leftovers in a freezer safe bag or container (preferably glass).
If using a bag, try to remove any excess air and lay the bag flat in the freezer.
The soup will keep frozen for 2-3 months.
To reheat, warm in a pot on the stove top or in the microwave.
If you’ve added pasta or rice to the soup, they will both absorb more liquid as they sit so you may want to add additional broth or water when reheating.
MORE DELICIOUS SOUP RECIPES TO TRY:
Tuscan Kale Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 3 large carrots chopped
- 3 celery ribs chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes fire roasted or regular
- 6 cups vegetable broth or 4 cups broth and 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale ribs removed and roughly chopped
- juice of half a lemon about 2 tablespoons
- Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the onions, carrots, celery, herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and sauté for 10 minutes until softened.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour the tomatoes and broth into the pot then add the rice. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes until rice is tender.
- Add the kale to the pot. Stir and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and serve while hot.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.